Vascular responses to ergometrine were compared in groups of patients subject to coronary artery spasm, or oesophageal spasm, or neither. We measured the degree of diffuse narrowing at different coronary artery sites (not in spasm), and the rise in blood pressure. The data provide no evidence for a generalised sensitivity to alpha-adrenergic stimulation underlying either of these two clinical entities. The left main stem was narrowed significantly less than the three main branches of the coronary artery tree. The degree of diffuse coronary artery narrowing was not influenced by the presence or absence of minor (less than or equal to 50%) fixed stenotic lesions, nor by the initial calibre of the arteries. Ergometrine did not alter arterial lactate concentration or lactate extraction in the absence of coronary spasm.
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